2030 Strategic Vision
2030 Strategic Vision
The 2030 Strategic Framework provides a vision for the world Sierra Club wants to conserve, protect, and create. This vision is firmly rooted in our Core Values of anti-racism, balance, collaboration, justice, and transformation.
Sierra Club needs a strategic framework that integrates all of the initiatives to advance our mission to enlist humanity to create a healthy, thriving planet and transform into an equitable and just organization. By having a common shared frame, all staff and volunteers can develop shared plans and advance priority outcomes that support people-powered action to create the world we envision. The 2030 Strategic Framework is not a rigid, top-down strategic plan. It is meant to provide a cohesive narrative about our vision, values and priorities in order to better integrate our work across a large, diverse, and complex organization. Our urgent task now is to come together to co-create a deep culture of collaboration based on just relationships. The Strategic Framework is informed by a number of materials related to Sierra Club messaging, values, equity transformation, grassroots power building, chapter strengthening and policy priorities. The 2030 Strategic Framework will be used to ensure staff and volunteers have clarity on their roles and responsibilities and to inspire donors, partners and other supporters. The Framework will support onboarding of staff and volunteers, create a path to collaboratively develop departmental and chapter three year plans, inform budget and fundraising priorities, and deepen powerful relationships amongst national, regional, state and local leaders.
The 2030 strategic framework is a vision for the world the Sierra Club wants to conserve, protect and create. A vision that is firmly rooted in core values of anti-racism, balance, collaboration, justice, and transformation. The framework also identifies strategic opportunities for Sierra Club. By setting aspirational yet achievable 2030 goals, the framework creates a clear shared purpose for Sierra Club staff, volunteers and partners. Together we will effectively collaborate and expand people-powered efforts to address systemic challenges that are accelerating the climate and extinction crises and deepening oppression.
Today, we are living in a “now or never” moment. Climate crisis-related disasters, habitat destruction, pollution, systemic racism, sexism and an inequitable economic system have combined to rob millions of people of their fundamental right to safety and security. As millions of people elevate demands for climate action and racial justice, the fossil fuel industry and other polluters increasingly bankroll politicians that sabotage our democracy, destroy wild lands and gut environmental protections. The heritage and stewardship of our public lands, waters, and wildlife is entrusted to decision-makers at all levels of government. Yet many of these decision-makers are increasingly attempting to privatize our public resources. These assaults on our human rights - to clean air and water, access to public spaces, a stable climate, and safe communities - elevates the urgency of our efforts to become an equitable, just, and anti-racist organization.
The enormous responsibility of creating a thriving and healthy planet weighs heavily on all of us as the staff and volunteer leaders of Sierra Club. The lingering pandemic has created a troubling sense of isolation as we try to maintain community via video meetings and as we all struggle to regain a healthy work-life balance. The last several years of fighting the Trump agenda and weathering the worst pandemic in a century have been challenging, at times sapping energy, deepening a sense of powerlessness and isolation, and increasing impatience with one another.
Such a deep transformation requires that we commit to being powerful together by centering power with (a commitment to sharing power and understanding of what that means in practice) instead of power over, as we work alongside our movement partners and the thousands of Sierra Club staff and volunteer leaders.
We can--and we must--create a world where everyone can exercise their human right to have clean air, fresh water, public access to nature, and a stable climate. As we navigate the cascading crises of climate, species extinctions, a nature equity gap, the pandemic, racial injustice, destruction of democratic institutions and economic inequality, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to advance a bold and transformational agenda. These multiple crises are symptoms of systemic injustices that impact all of us, especially frontline communities. In order to ensure a truly just transition and a healthy climate for all, we must transform our social systems and structures--from an exploitative economy built on fossil fuels to a regenerative society built on sustainability, ecosystem protection, democracy, and interdependence.
At Sierra Club, we believe in the power of together. We are a power-ful collective of millions of changemakers dedicated to making a better tomorrow for our families, our communities, and our planet. United by a shared commitment to environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice, we fight for a future where all people benefit from a healthy, thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. As the climate crisis, habitat loss, and deeply entrenched systemic racism fuel inequity, we continue to advance a bold, transformational agenda that recognizes the interconnectedness between our planet, our humanity, and our democracy.
The Sierra Club is structured to provide equitable entry into participatory leadership positions for volunteers and staff. Sierra Club is a nationally recognized brand that provides every staff and volunteer leader the power and opportunity of representing Sierra Club. As ambassadors of our brand, staff and volunteers have a deep responsibility to protect and advance our organization’s policies, values, and messages.
We live our core values of balance, collaboration, transformation, antiracism and justice. We are powerful together when we collaborate based on just relationships of mutual trust, respect, and solidarity. We work to match intent and impact in interactions, proactively resolve conflicts and misunderstandings, especially across differences, and regularly give and receive thoughtful feedback. We establish and follow through on shared commitments and resources, relationships, and opportunities. We get results when we are clear about who makes decisions and how decisions are made.
We commit to self-transformation through deep reflection (to understand our assumptions and our impact on others) and ongoing learning, in order to become anti-racist leaders. We believe in equal access and opportunity for everyone - especially those who suffer the most from pollution, environmental degradation and systemic oppression. We share power, influence, resources, and commit to advancing fair and equitable processes, policies, and compensation.
We commit to living the values of the Jemez Principles when we show up in our work and in our communities. We take responsibility for the outcomes of our actions and decisions. We hold ourselves accountable to continuously evaluate, improve, adapt, and innovate in order to create a welcoming and inclusive Sierra Club.
Our success will depend upon our creativity, imagination, commitment, and optimism. As we work for a healthy and thriving people, organization, and planet, we also care for ourselves and each other by ensuring we rest, rejuvenate, and are intentional about a healthy work-life balance.
We are an environmental organization that believes that to achieve our transformational vision for a healthy climate and environmental sustainability we must become an anti-racist organization, actively challenging environmental and systemic racism in our communities and in our country by elevating the leadership of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We can only deliver on our commitments if we lend our strength to support our allies, at key moments working for justice when called upon.
In order to achieve our 2030 goals, we must lay the foundation to ensure we are the most effective and balanced organization we can be. Moving forward, staff, volunteer, departmental, and chapter plans and evaluations will be guided by this overarching organizational health and effectiveness goal:
Sierra Club becomes an interdependent organization where staff and volunteers are supported to take risks, learn, and live our values in service of our shared mission and vision. Sierra Club is a place where we practice balance, compassion, sharing power, being accountable for results and advancing justice.
To achieve transformative changes in the world, the staff and volunteers of Sierra Club must feel optimistic, act strategically, and be effective collaborators. Sierra Club is committed to creating the conditions for individuals and teams to show up with energy and creativity. We are committed to cultivating trust as we advance shared priorities. Staff and volunteers will feel a sense of agency to achieve the vision of Sierra Club while also clearly understanding their authority, accountability, and where to find support.
This means that staff and volunteers will:
- Have a clear sense of shared purpose and commit to our core values of anti-racism, balance, collaboration, justice, transformation. Staff and volunteer leaders are aligned around deeply held shared values and shared accountability for putting these values into action. Our values guide how we assess and orient staff and volunteers, how we hold each other accountable, and how we advance our work within and outside of the organization.
- Collaborate to ensure chapter, state, and national plans are deeply aligned to achieve collective outcomes and goals. Aligned structures and equitable policies result in effective collaboration, equitable decision making, and shared accountability to live our organizational values.
- Experience and engage in a thriving leadership community of practice, committed to equity and justice that is supported by structures, resources, processes, and restorative accountability.
- Be part of a healthy organization that is financially strong and supported by robust systems and structures.
Fueled by the power of our large and active base, Sierra Club advocates beyond the leading edge of what’s probable to achieve what is possible. We build long-term power by running strategic campaigns to address the climate crisis and achieve 100% clean energy for all. We push for vastly increasing protections of public green spaces, waters, and wildlife. We partner with the most impacted communities to ensure all people benefit from clean air, fresh water, a stable climate and a direct connection to nature. We act based on clear analyses, goals, and strategies to quickly reduce carbon emissions and advance clean energy for all. Climate solutions are often complex and have both positive and negative consequences for communities, ecosystems, and workers. We don’t advance false solutions that push negative impacts forward in time, outside of the United States, or further stress frontline communities. Our partners, including environmental and climate justice groups, are not monolithic and won’t always agree with us or each other. Rather than just listening to our partners, we provide leadership and policy expertise as we ensure collaboration and alignment with our partners priorities and values.
How we get results:
- We partner and work in solidarity with the most impacted communities to build long-term power, achieve transformational change, and dismantle systems of oppression.
- We rely upon healthy, functioning democratic institutions as a key pathway by which we achieve our goals. We recognize that for many communities in the United States, democracy is a yet to be realized promise. We strengthen our democracy to ensure liberty and justice for ALL.
- We create transformative experiences for people through connecting outside -- fostering a commitment to protect people, places, and cultures.
- We advance local, regional, and national campaigns that win tangible victories and cultivate a base of leaders who have the skills, analysis, and support to do this work. Our strategies and tactics invest in the health and strength of our Chapters and movement partners, so that we are building power for the long haul.
- We secure changes in the world through our power to make policy, laws and litigate.
- We partner with others to advance justice by catalyzing the flow of new capital to communities that have been systematically underserved and are most impacted by the climate crisis.
- We cultivate, support, and elect climate, conservation and justice champions at all levels.
- We partner and collaborate to generate the funding to do all of the work.
These goals are ordered by length of text. Order does not convey importance or any other meaning.
Theory of Change: Working through our chapters and groups, and centering and partnering with frontline and local communities and Tribal nations we will build power to protect priority lands critical to climate solutions and provide connected wildlands and waters where wildlife, plants, and people thrive.
By 2030: Protect 30% of US lands and water.
Theory of Change: Working with our chapters, groups and outings leaders and partnering with BIPOC-led organizations, we leverage the power of outdoor experiences to expand equitable and public access to the outdoors for all, especially those who lack nearby nature and are underrepresented in the outdoors. In doing so, we will also reduce the impact of the climate crisis on frontline communities. By naming and reducing barriers to entry and ensuring all people have opportunities to benefit from a connection to nature, we will improve lives and inspire people to work with us to protect the environment.
By 2030: Cut the nature equity gap in half by ensuring an additional 50 million people can exercise their human right to connect with the outdoors.
Theory of Change: We intend to transform our society from one where the burden of pollution and climate impacts is borne by communities of color to one where communities are clean, democratized, healthy and equitably resourced. Collaborating to win racial justice–centered environmental victories is critical to our efforts to transform the current extractive and exploitative economy to one that is restorative and just for all. We build long-term power with frontline communities by collaborating with community leaders to achieve victories addressing injustices such as ending unjust air and water pollution, universal affordable access to clean energy, increased investments in climate solutions, advancing Indigenous sovereignty via principled partnerships in our lands and pipelines work, and prioritizing nearby nature for communities without access to parks or nature. We are at our best when it is hard to tell where the Sierra Club ends and where the community begins. In solidarity with our communities, we demand restorative actions, reparations, enforcement of civil and environmental laws and wealth creation and ownership opportunities for all. We are committed to work with communities to ensure a just transition as those communities move from a fossil fuel based economy to one that embraces clean energy and justice.
By 2030: Restore clean air and water, provide affordable clean energy, support family-sustaining jobs, and address inequities in our response to climate disruptions.
Theory of change: 89% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the use of fossil fuels, which also emit deadly air and water pollution. Our continued use of fossil fuels is incompatible with a livable planet. The industry, fueled by its integration into every sector of our economy, has great power and social license to harm and exploit BIPOC and other marginalized communities and undermine democracy. To address the climate crisis, we must halt the expansion of fossil fuels and accelerate the transition to a just clean energy economy. We must rapidly develop clean energy for a carbon-free power grid, while simultaneously electrifying our cars, trucks, homes, and factories. Central to our success is our investment in a growing movement to bring about an end of the era of fossil fuels.
By 2030 we will:
- Stop the expansion of the oil and gas industry: Gas and oil production is at (or below) 2019 levels, industry internalizes the costs of pollution, and new markets for fossil fuels are blocked including oil exports, gas exports and petrochemical expansion.
- Replace fossil fuels with clean energy: We will continue to eliminate coal and gas in the power sector and achieve 80% carbon pollution-free electricity by 2030; 60% of all new light-duty vehicles and 30% of all new heavy-duty vehicles will be electric, contributing to an 18% decrease in transportation sector oil use from 2019; and we will end the sale of gas appliances by 2030 while ensuring that electrification of homes is the most affordable and accessible option for all families and communities.
- Shift trillions of public and private dollars from the fossil fuel economy to restore clean air and water, provide affordable clean energy, support good paying jobs, and increase the ability of communities to be resilient to climate disruptions.
Theory of change: We are most powerful when we are able to leverage the combined power of our members and supporters, chapters and national infrastructure. By anchoring our long term power building work in outings (predominantly via our Chapters), we will continue to offer our members access to the power of outdoor experiences everyone deserves. This experience will be explicitly about equity, justice and self transformation. Going outdoors and into nature will always be an action and for many BIPOC, it will be a radical assertion of a right we all have to experience the outdoors freely, safely and peacefully. For over a century, sharing the power of outdoor experiences has unified our base, chapters and national structure and has shaped an entire movement. The next iteration of this power building model will help build a movement that will fight for Democracy, and against the impacts of climate change and the extractive economy fueling massive inequality. Our base will be motivated by a vision of communities that are healthy, safe, clean and just for everyone. Creating these communities will be a multi-generational effort that requires Chapters to organize locally and be part of their communities. Chapters can be the foundation for long term vision and campaign strategies that drive systemic change at the local, regional and national levels.
By 2030: Empower, diversify and expand our base of millions of members and supporters through our Chapters and Groups and share the power of outdoor experiences to restore accountability to our democracy and economic system so that decision makers meaningfully address the climate crisis, protect ecosystems and dismantle systemic racism.
Types of Goals
- Support individual activists to organize their communities and strengthen partnerships, and our communities become part of movements.
- Ensure the Chapters and Groups can provide localized support and infrastructure to deepen relationships, engagement, skills, and build lasting power.
- Our membership, organizing, campaigning, outings and chapter building strategies reflect our equity values so that new generations, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants, and others who have felt outside of the established environmental and outdoors movement know they have a place here.
- Build translocal connectivity through Narrative Power Building strategy.
- Provide leadership venues for our base at local, state, regional and national levels.
Types of Outcomes
- Support people’s right to vote and participate in our democracy.
- Cultivate personal strength in the face of instability, displacement, and violence accelerated by the climate crisis and the nature equity gap.
- Expand, diversify and engage our base of millions of members and supporters.
- Strengthen internal governance and democratic underpinnings.
We are deeply appreciative of the many hours of hard work and principled conversations that went into developing this 2030 Strategic Framework. This document brings together many existing narratives into one narrative of our organizations’ shared purpose to be powerful together. This Framework will be used to collaboratively develop three year strategic plans at the national and chapter levels, with clear strategies and associated resources tied to 2024 measurable outcomes. This will take principled alignment work - and will serve the organization well by providing clarity related to:
- Defining the roles Departments, Chapters and Volunteers play in advancing shared priorities
- Aligning and finalizing 2024 external and internal outcomes
- Developing annual departmental and individual performance objectives
- Aligning budgets and resources to support three years of work towards 2024 outcomes
- Creating a compelling case for support for donors and funders
- Integrating existing change processes into plans and implementation
- Developing a strategic communications plan to advance our shared narrative and priorities
- Incorporating into orientations and onboarding for staff, boards and volunteers
We are committed to achieving a just, equitable, and sustainable future built on a foundation of environmental, racial, economic, and gender justice--where all people benefit from a healthy thriving planet and a direct connection to nature. We must create a world where humans respect their interconnectedness to the living environment and treat each other, the earth, and all species with humility, care and respect.